Stephen Lewis , Sep 11, 2010; 03:48 p.m.
Most cameras from the 1960s-80s can produce good quality pictures, it is really up to the photographer to understand the fundamentals and put them into practice. Take a look at Gene M's pictures....he uses orphan cameras to produce thoughtful pictures of the world around him. I've had wonderful success with $35 cameras and ones costing 20-30x as much. You mentioned the Nikon F3 (yes I have one) - it is a fine camera when paired with the appropriate lenses and finder. The thing to be aware of when using older cameras is the fact that parts may well be worn or damaged and repairs can be expensive. If you can check out cameras locally, physically handle them and see that things are intact and move smoothly, the shutters work properly and the light seals haven't gone all gummy - so much the better. I've bought & sold on the big auction site for over 10 years, and it is rare that I get a camera which has problems...but it is because I've learned to do my homework in advance and ask the right questions before bidding or purchasing, as well as knowing the going values. The Nikon, Canon and Olympus lines typically offer good starting points with lots of availability out there and a wide selection of lenses. Good luck in your search and enjoy whatever you end up purchasing.